A call to, well, a lack of inaction

This is a column about our new president, Voldemort. My colleague Ms. Johnston has not photographed Mr. Mort, so in his place she offers photographs of the people mostly likely to be screwed over by the new administration: The poor.

I assume by now that you have gotten through four of the five stages of grief. You’ve passed through denial (“No he’s not”), anger (“but he’s a stupid racist self-promoting narcissist”), bargaining (“dear God, I’ll stop smoking if Trump is impeached”) and depression (“I’ll just go lie down until 2020”). I trust you have not reached acceptance, because the Donald Trump presidency must always be resisted. If we give up, we abandon our principles.

Also, we abandon our friends. A lot of them are not moving to Canada; a lot of them are going to hang around and await developments. They’re going to find something to do. They’re going to fight.

But how? This column is about that.

The Trump presidency is a different kind of animal. It is rooted almost exclusively in lies and bigotry. The People of the Left clearly thought they had put a lid on that sort of thing, what with wide acceptance of abortion rights, gay marriage, voting rights and all, but they hadn’t. They hadn’t considered that lies and bigotry could get a president elected. Surprise!

The Left was, lets face it, smug. They didn’t read the signs; they didn’t read the prophecies of many political philosophers. A totalitarian America is a real thing now. All the rules have changed. What do we do to resist? How do we do it? What would it look like?

Let me say right here, despite the immense power granted to me by merely having a blog, I have no idea what the answer is. Below are some thoughts and notes that might help us (or anyway, me) figure that out.

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There is a #resist hashtag, but the people who employ it on social media seem to be uncertain what it means. Resist — by joining our march for justice. Resist — by refusing to buy Ivanka Trump products.  Resist — by signing a petition to (a) pardon Chelsea Manning, (b) demand recess appointments of judges blocked by Congress, (c) investigate Putin-Trump ties, (d) protect a woman’s right to choose, (e) urge California to secede, (f) support those Rockettes who resisted an invitation to the Inauguration. And so on.

Do people think that petitions will be read by anyone in the Trump administration? Do you think they will pay attention to a march down Main Street in any town in California — or New York, or Oregon? I said this to my friend D, who reminded me that public pressure — marches, petitions, speeches — changed the administration’s view on Vietnam. The ending of that war was a mess, but at least enough people agreed that it should end.

All the United States presidents, probably since Andrew Jackson, came from and believed in, more or less, the political process. They’d toiled in its vineyards; they believed in its assumptions, even as they sought to avoid them. They believed, for instance, that telling a lie was a bad idea. They believed that the machinery of government was necessary to provide the things that people need. They believed that presidents are required to seek reliable information on which to base decisions. They believed, however imperfectly, in freedom.

So something like an massive anti-war movement had an effect. The burden of public opinion could not be ignored, because winning elections required voters. Plus, the idea of a moral imperative was understood, however dimly, by the majority of politicians.

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Donald Trump doesn’t believe in any of those things. He disdains all ideas that he didn’t understand, or that didn’t apply in his egocentric worldview. And he really doesn’t care about citizens, other than conning them into voting for him. He can’t even bring himself to pay his workers their agreed-upon fee. He and his Republican colleagues do not care who suffers in their mania for low taxes and decreased regulation. Why? Because they won. The most important thing to Trump about his victory over Hillary Clinton was the very winning of it. And of course he has to claim that the victory was larger than it actually was.

So what about direct action? What about taking to the streets? Fine. Black Lives Matter has opened a lot of minds — none of them, alas, belonging to the people who will soon govern the country. Also, there are many nutjobs in this country who would like nothing better than a civil insurrection. There would be blood; lots of blood. Worse, there would be subsequent repression. You like freedom of speech? Fine  — just as long as you confine it to (a) sports, (b) the drug problems of child stars, (c) iPhones.

So, economic boycotts. Fine by me. But let’s get smart and confine it to a few egregious corporations. In the past, the boycotts were about, say, grapes, or Nike, or apartheid. Now people are talking about boycotting GiantCorp because the CEO has agreed to serve on Trump’s task force on  trade policies. Do you boycott GiantCorp? Or do you boycott American arms manufacturers, or oil companies that deny climate change,  or Ivanka’s damn perfume? Or something else. It’s pretty chaotic out there in #resistville.

Or do we just throw cream pies at James Inhofe? I have to say, that’s a very good idea.

I don’t think we can trust the Democratic Party. They don’t seem to have a clue, and attempts by younger members (or older: See Sanders, Bernie) to rethink the party have been blocked by the elderly Old Guard. (I can say “elderly”, because these folks are older than me. Nancy Pelosi: 76. Harry Reid: 79; Dianne Feinstein: 83. Just like black people can say the n-word, I can toss around ageist stereotypes. Because old wealthy entrenched white people: Hardly ever a good idea).

All through the final week of the campaign, it was clear that an information war was being waged, and we were losing. During that time, I got at least 10 emails a day from Hillary or her close associates. They wanted money. More money! I figured they had enough money — a lack of money was never blamed for Hillary’s defeat. What they needed was a clue. They would have needed a clue even if they’d won.

I even distrust organizations like MoveOn. They wanted a lot of money too in the closing weeks of December. Their emails were little miracles of scare headlines. If you’re giving money, choose organizations, preferably local organizations, that do good directly. Rather than the corrupt and toothless Democratic Party, I prefer the Alameda County Food Bank, or the Woman’s Community Health Center, or High Country News, or (goes without saying) Planned Parenthood.

In 1856, the Whig Party, which had elected four presidents (none of them notable), finally dissolved. Some of its members (like Abraham Lincoln) quit politics entirely. Out of the Whig ashes rose the Republican Party and its first president, that Lincoln chap (whose retirement was short-lived).

What I’m saying is, the dissolving of a political party is not unprecedented. Sixty-three million people voted for Hillary. Throw out 20 million on general principles and you still have a Fabulous Party base of 40 million, and if each of those people gave $1, we’d have coffers. Coffers! Then we could recruit a bunch of Jewish socialists and rule the world! Just joking. We’d need black socialists as well.

Vote Fabulous! Because we understand how special you are.

Seriously: Forming a third party is really an idea worth thinking about.

For a while there, I was thinking about education. The people who don’t believe in climate change can surely be swayed, I thought. Yes, there’d have to be a new kind of messenger, but it could happen. Or maybe people who didn’t understand the nature of the kleptocracy could be encouraged to look at it anew. Or maybe a small tutorial on why voting against your own interests is historically a bad idea. Or why dismantling Obamacare…you get the idea.

I proposed this idea to my friend C. She said: “Fuck ’em. They had their chance.”

C is African-American. Can you imagine how fed up black people are in the era of Trump? Can you feel the anger when you walk along the street? Trump voters are well beyond the last straw. (Slavery was probably the true last straw). I don’t think they’re in a conciliatory mood. But that’s not the business of white people now. We have a different task: We have to protect the rights of black people, poor people and immigrants first, because they’ll be the first real victims of a Trump presidency. Trump respects power. Bad news for the powerless.

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I have one idea. It’s mostly for me, but it may have broader implications. I have a lot of retired or semi-retired journalist friends. We have skills; we know stuff. Perhaps we could offer our services to ProPublica or CIR, to research things, interview sources, wait in corporate offices for hours until someone agrees to meet with us. Or maybe we could offer our services to law firms engaged in worthy lawsuits.  We could file FOIA requests or track down timorous scientists or whatever they need.

I think maybe we need to use more than our feet or our voices or our money. I think we need to use our skills. I think we need to be maximally useful in the fight against tyranny.

I know there will be defeats. I know there will be cynicism and hopelessness. There are large monsters out there, and they have teeth. There are evil powers we can’t even imagine. There will be fireballs and dragons.

In other words, it’s an adventure. We’re like a bunch of Frodos, or an army of Luke Skywalkers, or 40 million Harry Potters. We should sing songs and tell stories around campfires and stand shoulder to shoulder when the bad shit comes down. There is bliss in fighting a totalitarian idiot — and shame in sitting out the battle. Be joyful!

Change happens. Change always happens.

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Photography by Tracy Johnston

Continuing useful help by Michelle Mizera

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61 thoughts on “A call to, well, a lack of inaction

  1. Hi, Jon,1. Happy New Year!2. It’s Inhofe, not Inofe. 3. See attached photo.4. See below oratorio intended to hearten you!Best,Martha Ture Cheer up! If it’s the sixties versus the fifties again, this time we’ve got pro-cam helmets, cell phones, livestream, kevlar vests, the internet, several governors and mayors on our side. Note to people younger than 70, who weren’t in the first go-round of this rodeo: 1. Expect the police will attack you at demonstrations, except in specified cities. Therefore, Always carry your phone and a spare battery, a backpack with a helmet, a go-pro camera. 2. Expect your phone and email to be hacked. Expect assassination attempts on leaders and people. 3. Organize assigned groups of people within your faith group, community, neighborhood, affinity group to physically go to local, county, state, and federal officials with your list of scored votes coming up. Know the campaign contributors and where they stand on your issues. 4. Let your representatives and district office staff know that you’re scoring and watching the hearings and the votes, with your phones ready to text out the rep’s vote. 5. Assign people to tweet, email, write, phone, text, visit the offices every time an important vote is coming up. Let the rep know you’re going to. Assign people to go to the hearings and text the vote results out to contributors when the votes happen, as in, “do you know what your rep just voted?” 6. Play lots of music, go to lots of concerts. 7. Read history. 8. Feel free to ask us survivors anything you like. 9. Don’t forget to boogie. I’m feeling cheerful, by god. I’m looking forward to this. Oh, one last note: back in the 1970’s, a then-new Congressman, George Miller, Democrat, California, told a town hall meeting “Don’t look to this House for leadership. You lead.” Nothing could be more true today. Let’s do it.

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  2. Some of us have been waging insurrection inside the Democratic Party. I hope it works. Incremental, so far. And some of your entrenched white people aren’t even white, certainly not all old. Stuck in old-think, though. Totally agree on last minute urgent,the sky is falling money pitches. Does not inspire donations

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  3. Terrific piece.

    Please tell Tracy J terrific photos.

    Typo: graf starting with “So what about direct action” – it’s plural, as you know: Black Lives Matter

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  4. Can I confess to needing an additional stage? I need the nap stage. The one where I am so exhausted mentally from all this shit that I can barely manage to think about it for a nano second before my gnat like attention span draws my mind off to other subjects “Oh yes, Luiza WAS amazing! zzzzzzzzzzzzz”

    I wake up and can’t remember what I was thinking about.

    This stage has been unrelenting and I only barely managed to focus long enough to dump all of my end of the year 501c3 funds into a donation for Planned Parenthood. Another hour of nap and I would have been off to the New Year’s Eve celebration and totally missed the window…

    Jon can you tell me how long the nap stage will last?

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  5. Beautiful Jon. I will donate a lifetime’s supply of matcha to wherever you think it’s best allocated!

    Eric Gower Founder / Creative Director Breakaway Matcha

    On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 3:36 PM, Jon Carroll Prose wrote:

    > joncarrollprose posted: “This is a column about our new president, > Voldemort. My colleague Ms. Johnston has not photographed Mr. Mort, so in > his place she offers photographs of the people mostly likely to be screwed > over by the new administration: The poor. I assume by now that ” >

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  6. I’ll try. It’s especially difficult knowing that the snakes he releases will target the people who voted for him (but of course also our grandchildren) more than us. War, pestilence, rising seas, falling wages – the harvest of dim-witted slogans and fake news.

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  7. Thank goodness. This is the best rant you’ve done in ages, probably because it’s the most needed — desperately. The words of thanks were for giving me a few moments of hope in a long, dark season of all the stages of grief, even though I wasn’t shocked at the election result, only grief-stricken. Well, let’s hope — and join together, and organize, and use any skills we have that can move us in the direction of light. (One quibble, though: My husband notes that using Jackson as an example of respect for democratic values may be an overreach; perhaps better to make that “since” more forceful.)

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  8. It is rare to read a post which leaves me depressed and enthused at the same time. But this post did just that. Thank you. Any advice for how to provide meaningful support as a former business person, other than writing checks? I have been providing pro bono strategic consulting services to Bay Area non-profits for 10 years. This has been more at the level of enabling growth of worthy organizations, rather than trying to move the dial on the policy front. I would appreciate any advice on the policy front. Thanks again for a wonderful post.

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      1. Thanks. It just feels like stopping one little leak, while the dam is ready to give way. But better to stop the one leak, and if everybody stopped one little leak, the dam would hold. Here’s hoping.

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        1. Jon and Raleigh, one useful place to donate time and money would be several media organizations that are trying to get the truth out. If fake news and disinformation contributed to this mess, then organizations like propublica and Robert Reich’s media group (name escapes me at moment) and such would help.One prong of Trump’s vision is to sue into oblivion (as happened to gawker) any news reporter/organization with which he has a beef. Time, money, and/or legal help would maybe protect these individuals and organizations who try to inform us.

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  9. Well, the trick is to convince them as voted wrong, and how does one do THAT?

    “We” don’t speak stupid so how can we get through?

    If you talk to “them” you will see how difficult it is to get through.

    The arrows in our quiver are Truth, Logic, Common Sense, Compassion, Empathy…

    Them concepts ain’t got no hold on them.

    Maybe Amy Adams could help?

    But it ain’t “language” that is lacking.

    It is f*ckg CONCEPTS!

    Friedman’s new book talks about three “Hockey Stick” changes to which we must rapidly adapt – but he neglects to mention that all 3 are self-inflicted!

    The Trumpet was “elected.”

    “We” did him to ourselves.

    Two sayings come to mind:

    “Beware of stupid people in large numbers.”

    and…

    “We have met the enemy and they are us.” (… he is us?)

    Barney Frank said:

    “When the Left gets angry, they march…

    When the Right gets angry, they vote…

    and voting trumps marching every time!”

    We in CA cannot write to the McConnells, Ryan’s, Grahams in other states who dain to speak for us.

    Ranting don’t move the needle.

    We have to find a way.

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    1. For starters, forget that stuff about “stupid people” that’s part of what got us into this mess. They aren’t any stupider than any other group, what they are is grossly misinformed. Listen to O’Reilly and Limbaugh and such and you’ll find a coherent world view, although it’s utterly fictitious. A big part of the public is being systematically bull-shat.

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    2. Having talked to a few Trump supporters I find them in the same category as born again Christians. Blind belief and no logic or facts penetrate:-(.

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      1. Not really a “simple” problem.
        Well, there are those who are now discarded pawns of Iindustrial Capitalism.
        They don’t know where to turn since their whole world disappeared.
        People were employed by industrial entities for their entire lives, retired, and their sons did the same jobs.
        One day the job was gone and the buildings abandoned.
        No one could hear them.
        No one cared.
        Sure, they have strange beliefs and notions, but all their lives they were told that all they needed was a job and the rest followed the script.
        Now the jobs have disappeared.
        Ignorance and desperation.
        Liberals issued warnings for years and were called “Commies” and beaten.
        Workers were told: “Union bad, Company job good.”
        They still yearn for fulfillment of false promises.
        And they have other problems too.
        If you wait too long to address a problem it becomes several problems.

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      2. Exactly. Trumpism is faith-based right down to it’s ugly, rotten core, and his legions march on a steady diet of the Kool Aide. I’ve tried to talk to a few, and it’s utterly futile — logic is powerless against faith. Unless and until they finally realize the full extent to which they’ve been played for suckers, we will not reverse this evil tide… but I wonder what will happen when they do come to their senses, because they’ll be seriously pissed off — and they have a lot of guns…

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  10. Two points, Jon. My anger is more at the Dem voters who stayed home during the last three midterm elections and let the Repubs own the House, the Senate, several state governments and governorships. The Repubs wisely took the gift and promptly gerrymandered the shit out of the Dem districts, closed polling places in Dem districts, enforced voter suppression privileges and from what I hear, did a lot worse. I do not blame Hillary Clinton for this. She had no support from her own voters. Nor do think that the Dems don’t vote out of despair or because they don’t like the party agenda — remember, we’re talking midterms here. I think they don’t vote because, to put it bluntly, they’re lazy fools. We intellectual lefties, who have debates about what this candidate would have or could have done are not inside the head of a lot of Dems, who refuse to see that the other branches of government have equal power with the President. But only the Presidential elections are sexy, interesting. The Repub voters may be stupid suckers, but they vote all the time, so while we stay home, they get to own.

    The other point is a little more cheerful. Have you heard of Indivisible? I think they might be the way to go — people are starting to notice:

    https://www.indivisibleguide.com/

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  11. I so agree, Alice, all those voters who stayed home at both Obama midterms, added several nails to the coffin, and then the 43% of eligible voters this year who did NOT vote added the death blow. Drives me up the wall. I have signed up to volunteer for Planned Parenthood, and Main Street Moms, and local groups that offer assistance to undocumented members of our community. Gotta begin at the local level, that’s how the GOP grew their power, alas. Happy New Year, Jon & Tracy!!

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  12. Ah, yes…the nap stage has a really strong pull on me now. But when will I know that it’s safe to wake up again?

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  13. I can hardly bear it. I will do all I can to preserve what we have accomplished in the last 60 years.

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  14. How you nailed it. How you nailed it! This all resonates with me SO much.

    I have to disagree with one major point, though, and somebody please give me some other credible way to think about it and I will because I REALLY want to but here it is: I don’t think those massive anti-war protests did anything to bring about the end of the war in Viet Nam. So many of us put our hearts and souls and even lives on the line protesting that war, and I don’t think it ended one day sooner than it would have anyway by its own sinking weight. When it became no longer economically or militarily feasible, that’s when it ended. Then, years later, the largest anti-war demonstrations in the history of the world took place all around the globe protesting imminent war in Iraq on February 15, 2003 (well except for SF, where it took place on the 16th) and did that have even the slightest effect? Nuh-uh. Invasion of Iraq took place on March 20th. That day of protest and all subsequent Iraqi War protests were so easily brushed aside by the Bush administration and Congress. Years later when the whole justification for that war proved to be bogus, those of us opposed to it all got to mutter “Told ya so” but did we actually do anything to stop it? We didn’t.

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    1. One way to remember the Vietnam Nam war is to recall that we had a draft.

      They ran out of people on the “bottom” and started drafting middle class white kids, many of whom did not come back.

      Those families raised a big stink and Washington had to listen.

      Nixon was also gone and so was his reason to keep the war going to get re-elected.

      The whole affair was an horrible chapter but this country is good at writing horrible chapters.

      The next horrible chapter will be called “The Trum-pet Sounded.”

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  15. Hi Jon, Thank you for writing this and for putting out there your take on the actions needed to resist effectively. It’s absolutely essential to have excellent investigative journalism to find and shine the light brightly on the facts and hold this administration and the people in it accountable. And, people need to continually be exposed to the facts and the long-term consequences in this “fact is fake and fake is fact” world. I’m thinking about how I can best use my skills to resist effectively and, most of all, shine the light.

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  16. You left out a basic principle: Long term commitment. That, and the need to learn from the people in offices a few basic things – such as, how they accrued grassroots power, how they became political machines which gave them control of government.

    The Change progressives and libs want can’t be and won’t be real until there’s a huge involvement at local levels, which eventually flows outward to state and national levels. Marching, button wearing, sporadic boycotting, letter writing, speaking for 3 minutes at city council meetings and talking with your representatives are all a waste of time, just a bunch of empty actions …

    If you really want to change stuff… get elected or get jobs in the official bureaucracy … or become a lobbyist.

    BTW, FOIAs are a great source of information … but you need to be very precise with your requests, otherwise you will get immense data dumps impossible to manage and read. It’s not enough to make discoveries via FOIAs, you need organization, methodology and a delivery system to use your awesome finds.

    One other small detail… bureaucracies, much like amoebas, will silently ooze and spread around you … strangling you with red tape and procedures… and if you’ve hired an attorney to handle legalese issues, bureaucracy and elected honchos will force you to spend a fortune with your challenges.

    Here’s an example: Say a land developer wants to build high-density housing in a rural area and a citizen’s group forms to protest the urbanization project. It may take 5 to 10 years and upwards of a quarter of a million to beat the land developer.

    It’s easy to rattle your fists at TV news or to fire off flaming epigrams to newspapers or to rant w/in social medias… It’s a different matter to actually engage your political enemies in day to day combat.

    Remember, politics is a blood sport and bureaucracy and the elected own the ball, the ball field, the umpires and the rule book…

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  17. When the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court are controlled by rich old white guys, even more than in the past, I don’t think political methods (such as demonstrations, a third-party, or writing your congressperson) will have any effect. These fellows are very attached to their power, and any organized attempt to undermine that power will be destroyed in a manner similar to the way they moved on Occupy. Or if necessary, how they moved on the Black Panthers.

    I’m afraid we may have to let the drama play itself out, while helping the victims, as you suggest, and trying to survive ourselves. Sorry to be so negative, but I don’t see any way to effect change now. It’s too late.To paraphrase your friend C: “Fuck us. We had our chance”.

    And BTW, I wouldn’t bet money on this but I believe there is evidence showing the decision to withdraw from Vietnam was made in 1969, when there was still major public support for the war. Yes, our demonstrations had an effect, but not as great as we like to think and not until the churches and the unions joined in — not until Walter Cronkite said it on the evening news, and we still had to wait until we could withdraw while ‘saving face’.

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  18. I agree with almost everything except about the part of forming a 3rd party. Instead, we need to get more active in all stages of the Democratic Party. We need to re-energize it and instead of the focus of money, money, money – change the focus to volunteerism. Probably those of us in California, need to absentee vote and then go work as poll watchers in the swing states. At some point, the whole election process needs to be reformed, but that won’t happen until we get more Democrats in office.

    I just think forming a 3rd party will split people and right now we need the numbers. It may be trite and a Hillary saying, but we are really stronger together.

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    1. Agreed. Things will have to get much, much worse before any kind of viable 3d party might be able to coalesce into a true political force. Then again, with Trump at the helm, things are all but guaranteed to get much, much worse…

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  19. “When they go low, we go high.” I believe that should be one of our mottoes. A point that is important to me is to fly and not burn, the American flag. We are America! The right has opted our flag as only their own. I believe in American values of justice, equality, and freedom. When ever I’m on a march, I always have a flag with me because it is so important to show that we are, indeed, Americans and patriotic. Not in the sense of loyalty to any one government party, but the true ideals of our nation, not just what is in the economic interests of a few. When a flag is burned, it really pisses off a lot of people. How can we reach others when they are pissed off? We need to engage folks who think they have different goals then we. Maybe if the counter demonstrators and supportive people of the right are met with a sea of American flags, they might stop us and ask, “Huh? I thought you guys hated America.” Maybe then true communication can begin. Remember, we are America.

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    1. True. As soon as you burn a flag, you lose 95% of your potentially sympathetic audience. Flag burning makes a point, but only among the choir to which you’re preaching — everybody else is instantly turned off.

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  20. I’m thinking about what it means to be organized. In a political campaign it’s very clear what the goal is and the ways you can help are well understood. The job market is terrible for many people, but again, it’s also pretty well organized; we understand what it means to search for a job and there are businesses trying to match people with jobs. The larger charities tend to be pretty clear about their goals and explicit about how you can help, and there are charity evaluators like GiveWell to help you find a good one.

    In this case, I’m not sure how you go from a vague call to action to a clear goal and matching up people with concrete ways they can help. It seems like if we had this, it would be called leadership.

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  21. Happy New Year, Jon – may 2017 be better for all of us than we expect it to be.

    Pleasantries out of the way, I have to say this – the LAST thing we need is yet another Third Party to split the vote even further. What we need to do is to take a page from the Tea Party’s playbook and HIJACK the Democratic Party. The infrastructure is already there – what we need is a course correction that wrests control from the “old-thinking” (to borrow from an earlier commenter).

    There is no talking with Trump supporters – they are evil, or stupid, or both. There MAY be a way to gather up supporters of Stein, or Johnson, and there certainly should be a way to unite with even the most vehement “Bernie-or-Bust”ers. But we have to let go of the idea that we Boomers have a right to select the candidate from our ranks. It is time to pass that torch to the “new generation of Americans” (and if you are old enough to know the source of that quote because you heard it said, here’s a hint – you AIN’T part of it any more).

    I’m 67 – my kids range in age from 46 down to 24. The youngest is fond of reminding me that it is predominantly people of my generation who voted for Voldemort, and that we ought to get out of the way and let his generation drive. I don’t know if that’s statistically true or not – but I agree with the sentiment. I think we Boomers have lost the right to lead, because so many of us have sold out to the very same golden calf that we ridiculed our parents for worshipping.

    That’s my message – get out of the way, and let the young and the still idealistic lead. Support them, give advice when they ask for it, but don’t keep trying to drive the bus, or we’re all going over the cliff.

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  22. It’s so refreshing to see a forum in which intelligent, concerned and decent people can share their beliefs, opinions, suggestions and frustrations. I think it helps to keep a historical perspective of this disruptive process America is currently going through. All cultures seem to evolve through a cycle consisting of a beginning, a peak, and then a decline, and I think it’s fairly easy to see where America stands in its cycle today. However, one must also keep in mind that while it is true that history repeats itself in certain clearly observed patterns, the repetition is far from exact. This means that even though we may be in a state moral decline, this doesn’t necessarily point to an imminent demise. History has shown that Americans can be truly resourceful and resilient, and as bad as things seem right now, we have to be aware of the fact that we have been making real progress in many areas. As Noam Chomsky recently pointed out in a talk with Harry Belafonte, Amy Goodman, and Juan Gonzales, the civil rights situation in this country is much, much better than it was a hundred or even 50 years ago…we have a long way to go but we’ve made real progress. So it’s probably very healthy to be alarmed at our precarious National predicament, but we probably shouldn’t feel totally dismayed or defeated…yet.

    Thanks Jon…this is a very cool blog site!

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  23. I love your writing.
    I suggest calling and supporting those companies who address climate issues, support their employees, etc. we can support their products if possible and let them know why. The opposite of a boycott, in fact. I think we need to be positive rather than negative.
    And we have to support our lobby’s–ACLU, Planned Parenthold, and the health insurance industry which certainly doesn’t want two or three years of uncertainty. And all the usual suspects.
    And vote.
    Thanks.

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  24. Thank you for this, Jon. You give clarity and courage. As a retired journalist, I am preparing to become a pest.
    OnTwitter. Frequently. First issue will be health care, which we all need, rich and poor!

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  25. Your ideas are as good as any I’ve heard, and maybe better than most, but many of your commenters have good ideas too. Signing internet petitions might feel good, but is worthless as a political act — such efforts pack the throw-weight of a solitary photon, and have the same impact. I’m not sure e-mails are much better, particularly the sort that require only your name to be added to a pre-written message. Those are too easy — if you want a politician or his/her minions to actually read your thoughts, go to the trouble of writing, printing, and mailing a real letter. If enough letters flood a congressional office, it will be noticed.

    The real drama of all this has yet to play out, and the true ugliness yet to come, but there will be plenty of opportunity for all of us to scream bloody murder — and scream it loud…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. >Do people think that petitions will be read by anyone in the Trump administration?

    Online petitions are political masturbation: feels good, no harm done, over in minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Well, we could stop supporting the dominant paradigm by redirecting our spending away from stores and banks and other services that don’t support the sort of change we want to see in this country. What’s in your shopping cart? What are you wearing? What are you eating? How was your food produced? Are you shopping at Big Box stores? Are you buying all the plastic things? Stop it! Can you compost food scraps? Do you have access to a community garden? Are you volunteering and/or sharing your skills, knowledge, and wisdom in meaningful ways? All the decisions that American consumers take for granted must be carefully considered now and in many cases, reconsidered. The general election is one thing. We can’t change that outcome, unfortunately. However, we vote every single day, with our wallets, our hearts, and our choices. Be kind. Be generous. Be wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Trump is a third party candidate. He tore up the Republican elites. Remember? It was hilarious.
    All is not lost, new elections in two years. I’d rather have Trump than Pence, I don’t think Trump will have any trouble telling Ryan or McConnell to go to hell.
    Keep up the good work Jon! Enjoy your retirement.

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  29. A third party will only divide us more and leave power in the hands of He-who’s minions.
    I just attended and voted at the Democratic Party delegate election in my congressional district. A big turnout of non-party progressives and Bernie supporters as well as long-standing progressive Dems elected a progressive slate of delegates who had previously supported Bernie. The Democratic Party is OPEN and ready to be controlled by any progressives organized enough to do the job. The way the Democratic Party is organized through open democratic meetings at the local level makes it the best vehicle for People Power. Organizing a party from scratch is extremely difficult. Years of work and millions of people-hours can be consumed with little or no results as the new know-nothing right wing consolidates it’s power within the shell of the Republican Party. Bernie and his supporters were OUTSIDERS and they were still able to virtually take over the Dem Party, almost winning in under two years of organizing. We are now the logical and de facto inheritors of the party of the New Deal. If we capitalize on the progress we made with Bernie and consolidate and expand progressive power within the party, progressives WILL WIN and make the Democratic Party the organization of change it was in the 1930’s. It is happening. The 2018 election starts NOW with delegate selection and the long-haul effort to GET OUT THE VOTE. In beating He-who and the know-nothings TURNOUT IS EVERYTHING. Only through an existing national party structure can we mobilize the vote to overcome the embarrassingly low voter participation rate that has led to this minority, fascist government. So don’t denigrate and disregard what progressives have done and are doing at the grassroots level inside the Democratic Party. That just plays into the fascist’s hands.
    Just imagine a 99% turnout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If something is not done, the Democratic Part will be as useless in 2018 as it was this year. Capitalizing on the Bernie push is fine in theory, but it ain’t gonna work in the Democratic Party as currently constituted. And spare me the rhetoric. I say that with love, because we are on the same side.

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  30. MoveOn has me, monthly. but I’m heeding your clarion call, jon. it’s a good one.

    we may very well march on the 21st of this month – tho it’s pretty reasonable to fear large assemblies these days. it’s actually freaking me out somewhat. is it folly to take the grandkids with us?

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  31. Thanks Jon. You were the first person I emailed when I got on-line in 1990. Imagine how pooly I felt after writing a few thousand words and you wrote back that I should stop yelling. I sent it all in caps thinking this was how it was sent via teletype on ham radio. OK, I didn’t know much despite recently getting an A.A. degree in Computer Electronics from Heald College. I still don’t know much. Went from a $5 TrackPhone to a MOTO G4 version 4 that the editor at C/Net recommended a D now can’t pay the bill to Republic because I fear sending my debit card number on a Wifi at the North Oakland Sr Ctr or at Peets on Piedmont Avenue. See – I’m a very low income senior who will very soon be evicted from my home (no mortgage) because I’m far behind on my house taxes (cum liens from not paying Waste Management bills because I don’t have any garbage – can’t cook because OPD raided my house thinking I must be cooking meth here and after four plus hours of literally tearing my house and garage apart – finding nothing, not even a roach clip, they removed my gas meter to punish me,)

    The preceding happened back when OPD was routinely kicking in people’s homes’ doors without having any warrants because Jerry Brown wanted OPD to “get tough on drug dealers.” Remember that spate of time? I do.

    For whatever reason, I had been a juror on a big Federal trial of the Bay Area’s biggest cocaine dealer – a Nigerian, who owned mansions in Burlingame and Marin County. To make a long story short, I had been calling 238-DRUG about one of the defendant’s lieutenants for almost ten years because he was using young neighborhood (Temescal) children as his go-betweens his drugs for sale and buyers’ money. Jamaican man used the cover of being the parking lot attendant at the Koryo mini-mall for why he was hailing taxis while dodging cars in the middle of Telegraph Ave all night long.

    FYI – One of the OPD chiefs came to a Community Meeting five years back and was asked why the dept. never seemed to respond to any of the detailed voice mails left there. To everyone at this meeting’s amazement he said he wouldn’t lie us – “OPD had no budget to transcribe ANY of the voicemails left at 238-DRUG. Every morning the tape was pulled out of the answering machine, turned over and put back into the machine. People like myself risked our lives getting license plates and descriptions of drug dealers we left on the 238-DRUG line.

    I was shot in the back of my head after I approached several drug dealers parked on the sidewalk at the Koryo mini-mall across the street from me near the intersection of 44th Street and Telegraph Ave. (Long Story you probably don’t want to read. Don’t worry – not many folks in Oakland want to read it either.).

    I once worked for Peter Rodino in Washington and at CBS News on the Cronkite News show. Maybe “I cudda been a contenda”? Lots of others may feel the same way.

    Keep up the good work. If you somehow survive a small caliber pistol bullet to the head wound, tell (if able to speak) your attending docs you were a high school pal of Dr. Michael Callaghan. He was once head of ER medicine at Highland Hospital and as an attending nurse told as her team was working on me, “Michael is regarded as a demi-god here because he trained all of us here.” You’ll also be treated like a “demi-god.” But don’t bet OPD will send an officer to interview you and make a police report about the shooting because OPD isn’t so muchmass about fighting crime as they are about fighting crime statistics.

    Written on my MOTO G4 phone on Feb. 4, 2017 signed Brian Treusch. age 73, single but in love with an atheist who attends Mass every Sunday at St. Leo’s. Go figure.

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